Draw, draw, draw, and loss.
Even though it wasn’t mentioned during the crisis period, the wrong form can still be pointed out, especially if the club is named Manchester City. Remaining winless in just four matches in the English Premier League is somewhat surprising for the ‘Citizens’. What might be even more surprising is that Pep Guardiola’s team managed to take only two shots in the opponent’s net in just four matches! Last night’s match at Aston Villa’s ground, with City losing 1-0, showcased such a game from Guardiola’s team. Aston Villa, with their win, has pushed City to the top of the table.
Guardiola’s team, accustomed to attacking after ball possession for 53.9% of the time, tried to do just that with City’s players. But it didn’t work this time. Villa’s goal posts were graced by only two shots, taken by Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez. In the 74th minute, Villa’s goal had an element of luck as Leon Bailey’s shot deflected off City defender Ruben Dias’ leg to score. This victory has now placed Villa third in the table with 32 points from 15 matches. City, on the other hand, with 30 points from the same number of matches, has fallen behind Villa.
With 14 consecutive home match victories, Villa will set a record of 15 consecutive home match wins in their 149 years of club history if they win one more match. The statistics of Villa’s 22 shots against City indicate their superiority on the field. Guardiola is not unfamiliar with this situation at City.
After becoming the coach of the Etihad club, this is the highest record of shots against his team. It was never felt at any stage of the match that City could score. If Guardiola’s team had won or drawn, it would have been a ruthless affair for Villa. The Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz also stated City’s post.
Among the top five leagues in Europe, Guardiola’s team has never taken so few shots in a match against their opponents before. Out of the latest nine matches, only three victories for Guardiola’s team make it hard to believe that this team won the ‘Treble’ last season. Perhaps the absence of Rodri is affecting Guardiola’s tactics. In the last 43 matches, City remained unbeaten. However, this season, in all four matches they lost, the reason was being out of the field.
After the loss, City coach Guardiola praised Villa, saying, ‘Aston Villa played better than us today (yesterday). Especially in the first half.’ Guardiola admits that his team is suffering now, ‘As a coach, my responsibility is to wake them (the players) up again, win matches. We are suffering a bit now.’ Villa coach Emery, after the victory, said, ‘We are thrilled, but we need to maintain balance. Now we are thinking about Saturday’s Arsenal match… We know where we stand in the table, it’s clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham behind us. So, the task will be very tough.